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1 February 2013

Alex McLeish insists that he is looking forward to his return to St Andrews when his Nottingham Forest side face Birmingham City tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

The Scot spent over three years as Blues manager, winning promotion to the Premier League and lifting the Carling Cup in 2011.

But his controversial departure for city rivals Aston Villa after his side’s relegation to the Championship left a bitter taste in many mouths – and tomorrow will mark his first return since his exit.

But the hardy boss isn’t worried about any potential hostility.

He said: “If I had been going back last year it may have been with a bit of trepidation because it was a draining season for me – the knees may have been shaking a bit!

“But I feel refreshed now and ready to accept whatever reception I get from the Birmingham fans. As long as it isn’t extreme you have to accept what they dish out. They’re a great bunch and I created some of my fondest memories at St Andrew’s.”

Once the whistle blows all eyes will be on the action, and McLeish is under no illusions that his side must improve if they are to keep their season alive.

The Reds slipped to a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Watford last week and McLeish said: “We badly underperformed last week – it’s rare that you see so many players off the boil but hopefully the boys can atone for that tomorrow.”

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